Dear Editor,
Racial stigmatization, and the violence that often follows, is not unique to Guyana. Racist terms like “Coolie” and “Blackman” have been plundered over and over since the country achieved Independence, no, not even before that time. There is no doubt that the use of these terms to refer to Indo-Guyanese and Afro-Guyanese is nothing short of racist and contemptible. Unsurprisingly, racial hostility is a perennial problem in this country. On some occasions, such as when there are elections in the country, racial hostility may reach a level that is worst for some Guyanese people.
In order to combat these incidents, the Racial Hostility Act 1964 was amended in 2002 to make it “an offense to incite hostility or will against people because of their race and prohibit incitement to racial hatred, which can be punished if deliberate excites or attempts to excite hostility or will against any part of the public or against any person on the basis of their race. “Those who breach this comprehensive provision could face a fine and imprisonment. However, despite the clear and compelling language of this provision, this lamentable practice, which was infused in normal circumstances, was rampant on social media during the last election.
Social media was packed with racist features that reflect the racial origins of some of the major political parties and the product of unruly political lies and ambitions on behalf of APNU. As mentioned before, the intersectionality of race and politics is a prominent feature of Guyana’s political landscape. However, history will show that this unfortunate reality has always been far more tangible and obvious in the PNC than in other major parties. This historical fact was again confirmed in the last election by the upright lies that APNU sold to its supporters and the reaction on social media to those lies is on behalf of APNU supporters.
During the five-month period between the election and the certification of results, Indo-Guyanese received all kinds of racial insults, verbal and physical, because of the narrative that their party – the PPP – had stolen the election. In turn, he convinced Indo-Guyanese that APNU and its mostly Afro-Guyanese supporters were determined to lay hard stones and overturn the well-deserved conversion, relaying with the most contemptible portrayal of their brother and ‘ u Afro-Guyanese sisters. The contemptible division on behalf of these two main ethnic groups took the reality of racial polarization in the country to a level that arguably had not been reached before.
Although APNU’s perverted behavior was the catalyst for the continued racial overtones during and immediately after the election, much of this could be attributed to the commemorative failure of the Guyana Police and Ethnic Relations Commission. As evidenced during the last General Elections, the Police took a beating of professional service when they excused APNU’s strenuous efforts to intimidate and bully those who fight to protect ballot boxes from kidnapping by APNU lenders. In fact, the Police were not just passive by the attempts to return the undemocratic APNU to power; they were directly involved in some cases in rigging the elections. The Guyana Ethnic Relations Commission is no less culpable in the rise of racial tensions.
In the context of this discussion, three things need to emerge: (1) APNU is essentially an Afro-Guyanese party despite claiming otherwise; (2) the Police are overwhelmingly Afro-Guyanese with historical affiliation with the PNC party; and (3) the Guyana Ethnic Relations Commission (ERC) has been acting as either at the request of APNU or has been acting in a manner that is tantamount to approving APNU racial policies. As a result, the ERC did little to confuse the racially motivated violence directed against Indo-Guyanese after the elections or to remedy the situation where thousands of Indo-Guyanese were fired from ‘ the sugar industry before the elections.
As the last General Election saga demonstrated, turbulent racial problems will continue to be intractable when those who are commissioned to carry out their role with utmost impartiality and professionalism, especially in environments that are full of racial inversions, are themselves involved of racist practices. GECOM, a constitutionally vested body created constitutionally to determine the outcome of the elections based on actual votes cast, concluded the concept of a vote when some of its Afro-Guyanese Commissioners, all of the APNU acolytes, is constantly involved in lies and distortions to thwart the deserving party. from being sworn to Government. It is inconceivable to think of another election without serious discussions about aggressively reforming GECOM.
The same logic must also be applied to the other two organizations, the Police and the ERC. In terms of security and law and order, Police reform is a top topic in Guyana. The failure of the Force to exceed race and ethnicity in the discharge of their duty has been a constant concern for the majority of Guyanese and must therefore be a top Government priority. Similarly, whatever prevents the ERC from discharging its duty, whether it be racist or simply pure incompetence, cannot be sustained for much longer.
In addition to the reforms, the way forward is to reorient the people so that they abandon the racist ideologies on which they interpret events in the country. They must begin to see things through the prism of who is best suited to serve the country, regardless of their racial background.

In terms of,
Sheik M Ayube

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